Russell T Davies reveals the two gay icons he wishes had replaced David Tennant in Doctor Who
The former Doctor Who showrunner has revealed the “superstars” he’d have cast as the Doctor if he had the chance to write a critical regeneration scene again.
Russell T Davies revived the cult show in 2005 and headed it until 2010 when David Tennant handed the TARDIS over to Matt Smith.
But after the tenth Doctor’s almost-regeneration in season four’s ‘The Stolen Earth’, many fans believed Tennant was leaving the show unexpectedly early – and it sent them into a frenzy.
During Sunday’s live tweetalong viewing, Davies discussed that cliffhanger, and revealed how he’d have done it differently if he had another chance.
“We knew the regeneration was fun, but genuinely had NO IDEA how big this would be,” he wrote on Twitter.
“It sounds daft, but… because we knew what happens next week, we genuinely didn’t have a perspective on how massive it looked from outside.”
The episode sees the tenth Doctor pour his regeneration energy into a ‘handy’ DNA-matching receptacle – his previously severed hand.
It meant that he didn’t need to change his physical form and Tennant was able to hang onto the show for a little longer. But as the episode ended at a critical moment, viewers were left in the dark and thought they were witnessing the tenth Doctor’s final moments.
“I watched it with my mates, and as it transmitted, I thought, ‘Oh. That’s kind of… huge. Oh.’ And then everything went mad!” Davies said.
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“I was invited on to Richard & Judy. ‘What for?’ – ‘To talk about the cliffhanger.’ And I said… ‘Oh, what else?’ And they said, just that. The cliffhanger. An entire item. About the cliffhanger. On TV. And I began to see how big it was. And then it added almost TWO MILLION VIEWERS! Unheard of!”
Davies now regrets not drawing out the moment more, and says he’d have loved two well-known thespians to cameo in the next episode to further the speculation.
“If I had my time again… I’d have MILKED that,” he said. “I’d have cast a whole new Doctor, a superstar for ONE scene.
“Ian McKellen! Judi Dench! Have them run around the TARDIS. Then discover the hand, and regenerate back. IMAGINE! Why didn’t I?!”
Had Davies cast Sir Ian McKellen as the Doctor, even for a cameo, he’d have been the first openly gay man to hold the famous role – and similarly, Dench would have been the first woman.
Sadly the tantalising twist never came to be, but the episode was a hit nevertheless and has stood the test of time.
So many Doctor Who fans tuned in for the rewatch on Sunday that the hashtag #SubwaveNetwork was trending at number one worldwide.